Monday, January 23, 2012

Mitt Romney Saved The 2002 Winter Olympics

according to Wikipedia ... highlights added

2002 Winter Olympics

Romney returned to Bain Capital the day after the election, but still smarted from the loss, and told his brother, "I never want to run for something again unless I can win." His father died in 1995 (Mitt donated his inheritance to BYU's George W. Romney Institute of Public Management and joined the board and was vice chair of the Points of Light Foundation, which had incorporated his father's National Volunteer Center) and his mother in 1998. Romney felt restless as the decade neared a close; the goal of just making more money was losing its appeal to him.  He no longer had a church leadership position, although he still taught Sunday School.  Fearing he would be a focal point for opposition, he had a limited, behind-the-scenes role in trying to ease tensions between the church and local residents during the long and controversial approval and construction process for a Mormon temple in Belmont (nevertheless, it still was sometimes referred to as "Mitt's Temple" by locals). Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998; Romney described watching her fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life.  After two years of severe difficulties with the disease, she found in Park City, Utah (where the couple had built a vacation home) a mixture of mainstream, alternative, and equestrian therapies that gave her a lifestyle mostly without limitations. When the offer came for Romney to take over the troubled 2002 Olympic Winter Games, to be held in Salt Lake City in Utah, she urged him to take it, and eager for a new challenge, he did.  On February 11, 1999, Romney was hired as the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

Before Romney came on, the event was running $379 million short of its revenue benchmarks.  Plans were being made to scale back the games to compensate for the fiscal crisis and there were fears the games might be moved away entirely. The Games had also been damaged by allegations of bribery involving top officials, including prior Salt Lake Olympic Committee president and CEO Frank Joklik. Joklik and committee vice president Dave Johnson were forced to resign. Romney's appointment faced some initial criticism from non-Mormons, and fears from Mormons, that it represented cronyism or gave the games too Mormon an image.

Romney, who served as CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, offering remarks before a curling match
Romney revamped the organization's leadership and policies, reduced budgets, and boosted fund raising. He soothed worried corporate sponsors and recruited many new ones.  He admitted past problems, listened to local critics, and rallied Utah's citizenry with a sense of optimism.  Romney worked to ensure the safety of the Games following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by ignoring those who suggested the games be called off and coordinating a $300 million security budget.  He became the public face of the Olympic effort, appearing in countless photographs and news stories and even on Olympics souvenir pins.  Romney's omnipresence irked those who thought he was taking too much of the credit for the success, or had exaggerated the state of initial distress, or was primarily looking to improve his own image. Overall he oversaw a $1.32 billion budget, 700 employees, and 26,000 volunteers.

Despite the initial fiscal shortfall, the Games ended up clearing a profit of $100 million, not counting the $224.5 million in security costs contributed by outside sources. Romney broke the record for most private money raised by any individual for an Olympics games, summer or winter. His performance as Olympics head was rated positively by 87 percent of Utahns. Romney and his wife contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and he donated to charity the $1.4 million in salary and severance payments he received for his three years as president and CEO.

Romney was widely praised for his successful efforts with the 2002 Winter Olympics including by President George W. Bush, and it solidified his reputation as a turnaround artist.  Harvard Business School taught a case study based around Romney's successful actions. Romney wrote a book about his experience titled Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games, published in 2004. The role gave Romney experience in dealing with federal, state, and local entities, a public persona he had previously lacked, and the chance to re-launch his political aspirations. He was mentioned as a possible candidate for statewide office in both Massachusetts and Utah, and also as possibly joining the Bush administration.

To read more about Mitt Romney, CLICK HERE

No comments: